Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boat Sitting

Picked up the anchor in Nabadup and had a nice motorsail over to Green Island to meet up with Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle and take over our boat sitting duties of Sojourn on the weekend. Okay, so we were a few days early to spend some time with Sea Cycle. Mark ended up catching some kind of bug, giving him a sore throat and making him feel pretty lousy, so they stayed at Green a day longer than us. Not a bad place to be anchored, that's for sure. Stan and Lynn from Homer's Odyssey came over, introduced themselves and volunteered to take garbage ashore to burn. Spent some really enjoyable time with them. Brian and Sue on Darramy were already there and Brian got Deb and I to join them in water aerobics. We're going to try to keep it up!

Snorkelling is good and there's lot of different areas to investigate. Went to the outside reef that we've enjoyed in the past. Dennis called me over to take a photo of 2 blowfish that were face to face. I got over there and they took off. Guess it was that 6' lemon shark cruising by that did it. We slowly swam back to the dinghy, which was a really, really long way away, looking around us the whole way back while Dennis held my hand. I guess anything to get the death grip off his wet suit! We tried to go snorkelling every day while we were there since there's so many interesting places to see.

Went over with Sue from Darramy to Homer's Odyssey for a visit from Catherina with her beautiful jewellery. So many choices. Bought two things for myself and then some gifts for our girls (that they don't know about yet). Catherina and her husband make some amazing jewellery out of different nuts, a couple of which are vegetable ivory. So neat!

It was our week for boat sitting Sojourn, so Dennis went over every day to do the boat check. By Friday we were getting low on water and wanted to head to Nargana for a refill on our Tropigas tank, gas and diesel. We needed a good charge on the batteries, so I went and picked up Mark and Deb in our dinghy and they brought their empty jugs and joined us on the hour motor. It sure was nice having the extra help to fill the water tank. When we pulled up there was a supply boat there, so we tied off to them to fill up. Unfortunately, the hose wouldn't reach all the way to the water tank, but at least made it as far as the deck so that Dennis and Mark could fill the jerry cans and then carry them across the deck to fill the main tank. Deb and I wandered the town while they did all the work.

The town in Rio Azucar and the outhouses over the water.

Then motored over to Nargana, filled up on gas and diesel, had lunch and picked up some fruit and veggies. Mark and Deb hadn't been here yet, so I gave them the grand tour of Nargana and Corozon de Jesus. Didn't take too long! Off we went, motored back an hour and a bit, dropped them back off at Sea Cycle and collapsed. Busy day!

This is how they fill gas and diesel

Did a last check of Sojourn on Saturday, and then we headed off to the Holandes on Sunday morning. Had an amazing sail, anchoring in the Swimming Pool in 9' of water, much to Dennis' delight. I prefer deeper water, but we do have a manual windlass, so shallow works out well for him. Dennis made the comment about almost getting whiplash when we hit 10' of water and I hit Reverse. They call it the swimming pool because the water is so, so clear, so you have t0 pay attention to the depth sounder because you always think you're going to be aground. Well, I do anyway.

Looking forward to Monday night happy hour. ~~~_/)~~~

Friday, April 09, 2010

Clear, Blue Water!

After all that packing stuff away, off we went, heading towards Salardup. Started off motoring to charge the batteries, just pounding into the small seas and current. Finally got past the reef, put up all sails, and had a great sail to Salardup. Sea Cycle left after us and decided to head up to Esnusdup, and we got some great shots while they passed by.

Anchored in Salardup, ready to relax, but George and Pixie on Silver Seas called to tell us about bocci ball on the beach and then happy hour. We passed on bocci, but made it in for happy hour. Gary on Rainbow Rider called on Sunday morning to invite us over to Dream Weaver for a Texas Hold'em poker game. What a fun afternoon. Ended up with Karin and Paul on Dream Weaver putting together a great Mexican feast with ourselves, Jeff and Una on Dragonfly, Gary and Linda on Rainbowrider and Scott and Kim on Anthyllide. Lots and lots of laughs!

Stayed a couple of days and then off to join Mark and Deb in Esnusdup. Anchored near the lagoon in shallow, clear water ... then the wind died and the no-see-ums arrived. For me, it doesn't take much - I was chewed alive in Salardup in 25 kt. winds. Where did they come from? Picked up anchor when Dennis saw them buzzing in and out of the screens, and moved down to the tip of one of the islands where we had some breeze and no bugs. Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle headed up to Green Island to begin their week of boat watching for Sojourn, while we headed back to Nabadup and laundry.

Found a new spot to anchor in Nabadup - a 12' sandbar with lots of swinging room in case of wind shifts. Lots of privacy! Up the river to do our laundry before we head over to Green Island for our boat watch week. I made sure I was totally bug-proofed this time. Wore my reef guard shirt and long gauze pants. Tired of no-see-ums making a meal out of me!

Laundry done, time to head off to Green and meet up with Sea Cycle for our turn at watching Sojourn. ~~~_/)~~~

Saturday, April 03, 2010

What A Trip!!

So, had an absolutely wonderful time in Panama City. The guys went and did their stuff and Deb and I went shopping, mostly in grocery stores! Picked up all kinds of good stuff and our rooms were absolutely stuffed! Waiting for the guys to come back from their shopping, I brought my computer down to Mark and Deb's room so we could do our internet stuff, have a glass of wine and unwind. Well, Skype was on and our phones were ringing, so there went our unwinding time. But, great to talk to everyone again after being out of touch for so long.

Our second night in the city we walked and found a great Mexican food restaurant, then back to the room to take long showers and finish up all the internet stuff we needed to get done. I finally got to talk to my cousin Adrian who now lives in New Zealand. It's a little tough with that 18 hour time difference. I was online till 2 a.m., getting everything done while I can. Up early the next morning, down to pick up a cafe con leche in the restaurant, and off to do our last grocery shopping. The taxi driver was only going to charge us $3 to take us back to the hotel, until he saw all of the groceries, and then it was changed to a whopping $4! Where are we going to put all of this?

Back to meet up with the guys and a last minute running around fiasco for Sojourn - frustration! We needed to hit the bank one last time, so finally found one and practically ran back to the hotel to get in that last little bit of internet and groceries down to the lobby! Many trips later, everything was in the lobby, with more than one person commenting about how much room our stuff took up. 'Walmart?', asked one gentleman. Phoned our driver to make sure he was going to show up. Hmmm -- he'll be a bit late, maybe 20 minutes. Forty minutes later he arrived, but then it took another 20 to pack everything into and onto the truck. Took off down the highway with Alfonso, with the back end of the truck swaying back and forth. Stopped for gas - oh, the truck doesn't start. Had to pop the clutch going downhill with a transport riding up fast behind us. Mark kept telling him that they had a saying in Canada - DRIVE TO ARRIVE ALIVE! We repeated that many times, but it didn't seem to make a difference. Stopped for McD's takeout, and at one point I commented to Deb that I never thought my last meal would be a quarter pounder with cheese and fries! I was hoping more for steak and potatoes! What a trip!!!!

Finally made it off the highway and onto the dirt road. All I can think of is that the Kuna Yala border closes at 4:30 and between the two boats, we probably have between $400 to $600 worth of meat and cheese. Let's see ... 2 flat tires later ... The first flat was before the border and luckily Alfonso had stopped and picked up a jack from a truck at a construction site.

Deb remains cheerful!

While they were fixing that flat, another truck stopped and swapped his flat for their spare - THANK GOODNESS! Just got past the border around 3:15 when we had the second flat. By this time I'm watching the ice melt and run down the windshield from my cooler on the roof. Got the second flat fixed and hit the river, which was high. Might have made it through the river and up the embankment, except for that bulldozer coming down. So, had to stop and just had a heck of a time getting through the mud. Oh, turns out his 4 wheel drive isn't working!!!!!!!!!! Trucks coming down so that we couldn't get up, but finally the bulldozer cleared the way and, amazingly, we made it through.
The truck wasn't great, but our driver was cheerful through it all!
Found a panga to take us back to our boats for $10 a couple and it was well worth it. They pulled up to our boat, they helped tie off, then 2 of them hopped out and passed things down to me in the cockpit. They were great!

We had some of Sea Cycle's groceries and they had some of ours, but we figured we'd straighten it out the next day. We worked till about 8 p.m., then collapsed and finished up the next day with storing and vacuum sealing! A fun time but we're exhausted!! ~~_/)~~